FIC A Halloween Universe (10/?)
Giles shivered as he re-materialised at the other side of the ring. “My that was bracing.” He looked around, his eyes scanning the bleak, arid-looking planet, his excitement growing as he noticed the red, distinctly unearthlike sun in the sky.
It would appear they weren’t in Kansas anymore.
“Hey Giles, what is this?”
Giles glanced over to where Riley stood, his eyes widening. “Oh good lord!” He raced over to the Midwest soldier and crouched down, hungrily examining the object a plinth-mounted, pedestal-shaped object with a round control panel on top consisting of two rings of glyphs and a translucent round button in its centre. “Good gracious!”
“So what it is Giles?”
Giles waved half-heartedly at Xander. “Jonathan, can you guess?”
“Ummm, sure,” Jonathan haltingly replied. “It’s the original dialling device the rings come with. The glyphs match the ones on the ring and you press them to dial a ring then I’m guessing pressing the button in the middle to activate or send the address to the gate.”
“You’re mostly correct,” Giles nodded. “Also, I’d imagine that the dialling device also powers the ring and automatically corrects for stellar drift without the program I wrote. However you’d have to use one of our own dialling devices to get home because of the unique code needed to disengage the shield. Fascinating.”
“Hey,” Cordy peered through her goggles. “I’m picking up a couple of interesting things. There looks to be a crashed space ship about two and a half miles away to the northwest, and about a mile away to the east, there’s a tall, maybe eight-storey silvery tower.”
“Interesting,” Giles pulled his goggles down over his eyes took a moment to adjust then followed Cordy’s gaze. “I propose we split into two groups, one group investigates the ship, one the tower. I’ll take the tower.”
“Why do you get the tower?”
Giles smirked at Jonathan’s query. “Why because it’s the shorter walk of course.” He looked towards Jenny. “Shall we?”
“Well sir,” she linked arms with him, “I’d be delighted.”
The two and half mile would have been an effort just over a month ago, but now even under the desert’s blazing sun, Xander barely noticed it as they strode towards the alien craft.
It would have been quite the sight in flight, a diamond shape about eight hundred metres in length with six hundred metre long cylinders fixed either side, and a circle perhaps two hundred and fifty metres around in circumference connected to the point at the front of the diamond. The ship had once been covered in a shimmering, gleaming gold that had now dulled and rusted with age, and the bottom of the two cylinders had torn off and been thrown somewhere miles away while the ship’s circle had huge cracks running across its top. “We can climb up into the ship through that,” Xander pointed up into the gap a couple of hundred feet up off the ground, “at least I can, then I can drop a rope for you to climb up.”
“No need for that,” Willow commented. “I can levitate up there, then drop a rope for you.”
“Show off,” Xander grinned at his childhood friend.
“Sorry Xander,” Riley almost smiled before sobering. “Willow’s idea sounds best.” The red-headed witch stuck her tongue out at Xander before levitating up and into the broken circle. Two minutes later and a rope dropped to the ground. “Xander, Cordy, Jonathan, go up in that order, I’ll go up last.”
Xander looked around the broken ship. The ship was shrouded in darkness but Xander could see the ship was a semi-circle of dull consoles with a seat in the centre that he guessed had been the seat of the vessel’s captain, behind him he saw what he guessed must have been a slide-door. “Harris, give me a hand!”
“At once my queen, at your pleasure my queen,” Xander reached out of the ship and pulled Cordelia inside then reached down and pulled Jonathan in, Riley crawling in a few seconds later.
“Jonathan I want you to hack into the computers and find out what happened to this ship,” Riley instructed before looking towards Xander and Cordelia, “you two go and do a recon of the ship, see if you can find any interesting technology or clues to why it crashed.”
“Lucky me,” Xander muttered as he started down the sterile, grey-walled corridor, “a walk with Queen C.”
“Be nice, or I’ll tell your girl-friend she can do better,” Cordy sniggered. “’Tho she should know that already.”
“Better than my charm?” Xander snorted, his goggles illuminating the otherwise shadowy corridor. “Bet than my wit? Faith knows that’s impossible.”
“Impossible to do worse, maybe,” Cordelia riposted then stopped, looking up at the ceiling. “Did you hear something?”
“Nothing except the excited beating of your heart from being-.” Xander stopped, eyes narrowing as he heard a rattle above him. “Yeah, I heard that too.”
As they neared their destination, Giles noted the tower was a silvery grey and untouched by rust, around thirty-six feet in diameter and going up to maybe sixty feet in the air. “Huh.” Giles peered at the tower’s base. “Interesting.”
“Interesting?” Jenny snorted. “You call no door interesting?”
“Oh there’s a door,” Giles strode over to the seemingly featureless tower and rapped his knuckles on its surface. “We just can’t see it.” He glanced over his shoulder and grinned devilishly at his companion. “Yet.” It felt metal, but not of any alloy he recognised. His fingers danced over the smooth surface, feeling for any hole or crevice. “Ahhh!” The Doctor within him almost broke out into a little jig when he found a slight, half foot long ledge jutting out less than inch from the tower, only Jenny’s presence preventing him from showing off. “Let me see,” he attached a code-breaker of his own design and set to work on gaining entrance.
After just a couple of minutes he heard a buzzing noise and a five foot high, two foot wide door slid open. “Huh, clearly whoever built this were pygmies,” Giles joked as he ducked and climbed inside, Jenny following behind.
Giles’ jaw dropped as he noted the writing inscribed on the consoles set in a semi-circle. “Nordic runes, bloody hell, proof that aliens have visited earth at some time.”
Jenny peered at them. “Heimdall’s Eyes. Remind me, who was Heimdall?”
“Heimdall was one of the Norse gods, a major one, the one who kept watch for Ragnarok,” Giles muttered as he began working at the computer.
“I’ll search the upper floors,” Jenny glanced at a set of rungs to the left of the slide-door they’d entered through.
“By all means,” Giles muttered as he was already transfixed by the console in front of him, his fingers dancing over its keyboard as he coaxed data from it.
“I’m in,” Jonathan exclaimed, “I’ve got access to the ship’s database.” Jonathan started to read the captain’s log, the alien language made decipherable by the Universal Translator. Suddenly Jonathan let out a gasp. “Oh this is not good, not good at all.”
“What’s up?” Suddenly Riley was crouching beside him.
“This ship was a colony ship, one of a hundred that left its home-world after it was infested by a monster, a species that starts life as an egg that hatches into a larval form which attaches itself to a living being, any living being, by its face then crawls into its mouth and into the being where it impregnates the host with an embryo with after a gestation period erupts from the host’s torso resulting in their death.”
“That does not sound good,” Willow commented.
“It gets worse, the reason this ship crashed was because the inoculation procedures and security protocols failed, the ship was infected! The monsters over-ran it!”
Willow let out a gasp. “You mean-.”
THUD! THUD! “Somehow I don’t think that’s Xander and Cordelia,” Riley commented as he drew his gun.
“Yeah,” Willow summonsed a football-sized fireball, “like they’d ever knock.”
“Oh shit!” Xander cursed as several ceiling panels exploded, forcing him and Cordy to leap backwards as half a dozen or so creatures from somebody’s worst most warped nightmares dropped to the ground.
Xander joined Cordy in pulling out their Mossbergs and started firing. “I WISH,” Xander roared over the shotguns’ boom, “WE’D BROUGHT SOME OF THE SPECIAL AMMO!”
Cordy didn’t bother to try and reply, just nodded as she held the gun at waist-level and continued to pull on the trigger, cordite beginning to thicken in the air. Xander grimaced as one began to skitter up the wall, but Xander blew it into a messy spray as it leapt off the wall and at him. “WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE FAST!”
Xander nodded. Realistically, as an Asgardian he should have the power to rip these things apart with his bare hands, but he didn’t want to get too close to judge from the way their blood sizzled as it hit the ground. “BACK UP!” Xander yelled then winced as his gun clicked empty. Five of the monsters were lying in a pool of their own viscera, but two of them remained with the potential sound of more approaching fast.
Reversing his grip until he held the gun by its muzzle then swung it like a club. The shotgun’s butt smashed into the nearest one’s skull with enough force to explode its exo-skeleton, sending the monster crashing to the ground. A brief moment later and Cordy had put two shells in the last alien, leaving it dismembered on the ground.
“We need to back up and get outta here fast,” Xander grunted, his ears throbbing as he hurriedly reloaded.
“Yeah,” Cordy nodded, “back to back?”
Xander nodded , he really didn’t like the idea of these things sneaking up behind them. “Good idea.”
Riley looked towards Jonathan. “No contact with Giles?”
Jonathan shook his head. “Just static.”
“Okay,” Riley licked his dry lips then nodded. “Keep trying it and in the meantime, drop another couple of ropes down out of this place, my guess is we’ll want out fast.” Riley turned back to Willow. “As soon as Xander and Cordy get back, we’re out of here and heading for the tower to get Giles and Jenny, then we’re outta here-.”
“Eeep!” Willow squealed as the door buckled and a tailed beast started through the cracked opening. A fireball flew from the witch and into the creature, the stench of burning filling the air as the beast hurriedly recoiled.
“Neat trick,” Riley smiled at the witch, “I assume you can do that again?”
Willow smiled nervously. “A few more times at least.”
“Great,” Riley nodded, “but don’t be hair-trigger if we catch Xander or Cordy with a fireball, we’ll never hear the end of it.”
Willow giggled. “You know them so well.”
Riley exchanged grins with the red-headed witch even as he pulled out his G36. “Keep your ordnance in reserve, we don’t wanna use it in a confined place unless we have to.”
“Eh, Cordy?” Xander paused as they came to a crossroads in the ship. “Which corridor did we come out of?”
“Oh god,” the statuesque brunette shook her head, “you’re hopeless, the left one.”
“Okay,” Xander nodded before starting down the corridor. “Cordy?”
“You can hear them coming right?” he queried.
“I’m trying not to,” Cordy replied with a shudder.
“Ah dear,” Giles didn’t look up from the screen as he sensed his girl-friend’s presence behind him. “The information I’ve found is amazing, in this data crystal alone there’s thousands upon thousands of gate addresses together with detailed information on each planet, their cultures, climates, an entire glossary on each.” When Jenny didn’t answer, he turned towards the Romany Jedi.
“Ah dear,” Giles felt his stomach hollow when he was confronted not by the expected woman but by a hunched over creature with a menacingly black, skeletal appearance, drooling acid dripping from its teethy maw and a blade-tipped tail lashing from side to side behind it. “Jenny,” Giles forced a death man’s smile, “I don’t approve of your makeover.”
And then the beast was launching itself at him, covering the few feet separating them at a frightening rate. Giles used the only weapon he had to hand, swinging the data crystal up and into the side of its jaw.
The creature let out a screech as it skittered across the room and crashed into the far wall, the makeshift’s weapon’s slight charge leaving a scorch mark on its shimmering exo-skeleton. Giles dropped the data crystal into his pocket and pulled out a Force-Lance he’d reverse-engineered from Percy’s design. “Alright wee beastie,” Giles put on arguably the worst Scottish scent in the history of the world and maybe even the expanding galaxy. “You’ll be wanting my blood now I expect.”
Giles smiled at the snarling creature. In his life the Doctor had been many things, including a couple of decades spent learning martial arts at the hand of a true master, a Draconian who’d won both planetary and imperial titles. The TV series might not have recorded much of that, but he was a very, very dangerous man.
The monster launched itself at him, Giles pointed the Force-Lance at the creature and then willed it to extend. The weapon sprang from its current foot length to just over five, shooting into the beast’s gaping maw and impaling itself in the top of its mouth. The creature’s scream tore through the air, its barbed tail swinging wildly, snapping over Giles’ head, only just missing him.
Giles swung the lance down, smashing the impaled creature over and over again into the console, until its remains were smeared across the console. Then exhausted, his arms burning with the effort, lungs tight, he slumped to the floor then started as Jenny dropped to the ground beside him. “Are you alright?” He noted Jenny’s cheeks were flushed with excitement. “I ran into two of those upstairs. I suggest we get out of here now before any more turn up.”
“A good idea,” Giles nodded then grimaced. “I strongly suggest we don’t come back here ever again.”
“An even better idea,” Jenny agreed before grimacing, “there’s some sort of dampening field around here, we won’t be able to warn the others until we get out.”
Xander let out a rattling breath as they came to a slight slope that he recognised as leading up to the ship’s bridge. “Oh damn it!” Cordy hissed. “Xander they’re here!”
Xander’s heart fell as he glanced over his shoulder to see a swarm of the black, shimmering beasts skittering towards them, acid drooling from their teethy maws and barbed tails snapping menacingly. Xander reached across and grabbed the brunette’s shotgun from her. “You go and get Riley to come help me, I’ll cover you!”
Cordy shook his head. “I’m not leaving you-.”
“Don’t argue, you’re just a telekinetic ninja, I’m actually super-strong etc.,” Xander replied, eyes fixed on the onrushing monsters. “But tell Riley to get his ass down here fast.”
“You’re welcome!” Xander muttered as he lifted a shotgun in each hand and began firing. Each shotgun bucked as he started blowing holes in the nearest of the monsters, but whenever one fell another took its place, the creatures never stopping or even pausing, coming on like a tidal wave of teeth and bad intentions.
“XANDER HIT THE FLOOR!”
Xander was dropping the moment he heard Willow’s scream, a half-second later a white hot heat engulfed the narrow corridor, incinerating the monsters swarming around him and even making the enhanced Asgardian smoulder ever so slightly. “Son of a bitch,” Xander cursed as he rolled up and hurried through the still smoking corridor.
“Xander!” Willow let out a worried cry. “Are you-.”
“I’m fine,” he nodded wearily as he crawled through the half-forced door, “good trick with the corridor.”
“We’re still not hearing anything from Giles,” Jonathan reported as he dropped out of the crashed ship.
Riley scowled. “Okay, in that case-.”
“He’s coming through now,” Jonathan interrupted. “Says the tower he was in somehow blocked our signal. He and Jenny ran into more of the monsters and are making their way back to the ring, he says to hurry back, and meet there.”
“Like we need to be told that,” Xander commented. “Of all the planets in all the universe we hadda walk onto this one.”
“Oh come on Bogie,” Cordelia snorted and shook her head.
“Giles,” Wood greeted him as he made his way into the computer room, “bad news I’m afraid, the data crystal was damaged during your fight with the monster, and the glossary was lost, but we still do have the list of viable gate addresses. Several thousand of them in fact.”
Giles smiled tightly. “Ah well, most of the fun in exploring is in the discovery.”